Any injury suffered in a car accident can disrupt your life and limit your daily activities. Severely strained neck muscles, broken ribs, or even a sprained wrist can keep you away from work and require long-term medical care with a large price tag. Even with minor injuries, you are more likely to get a significant settlement if you hire a car accident attorney to represent you. But if you or a family member suffers catastrophic injuries in a car or truck accident, you will need the services an attorney who specializes in catastrophic injury cases can provide. These cases present unique challenges for victims and you will want an experienced attorney by your side as you recover.

What Is a "Catastrophic Injury"?

For some people, a broken leg could be considered a catastrophe, but in the eyes of the legal and the medical world, a catastrophic injury refers to a particular level of damage and disability. Catastrophic injuries often damage the central nervous system or result in impaired function in several body systems. These kinds of injuries entail a difficult recovery process, multiple surgeries, and, in some cases, a lifetime of medical care. Some examples of catastrophic injury include:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI is a complex injury with a wide range of symptoms and disabilities. When a car accident victim suffers blunt force trauma to the head or the brain is violently shaken within the skull due to the impact of a collision, the brain can be irreparably damaged. Often, with a severe TBI, the victim will never completely recover. Instead, he or she will need ongoing medical care, therapies, and personal care.
  • Spinal cord damage. When the spinal cord is damaged, the victim can lose function in all or part of his body. A severed spinal column results in paralysis from the point of injury down, leaving the victim in need of extensive medical intervention and lifelong care. Car and truck crashes can easily result in spinal cord damage.
  • Amputation or dismemberment. When a victim loses an arm or leg in a car accident, he faces a permanent impairment and possible loss of his livelihood. While tremendous progress has been made in prosthetics and rehabilitation for victims of amputations, these treatments cost money and continue for the lifetime of the patient.
  • Eye injuries resulting in blindness. Shattered glass, fires, malfunctioning airbags, and numerous other car and truck crash events can blind occupants of the car. Even after the extensive medical care the victim will initially need, he may not be able to return to work and will need to learn new life skills. He may require an assisted living situation and will need significant funds to pay for it.

What Makes a Catastrophic Claim Different?

In any personal injury case, when one party is found liable for the other party’s injuries he will be required to pay damages to “make the plaintiff whole.” With a less serious injury, it can be very clear what this entails, but with a catastrophic injury, there is sometimes no way to know for sure what the lifetime cost of care will be for the victim. Negotiating a settlement in these cases requires an attorney who understands all of the possible outcomes and future costs. Medical experts will need to be consulted in order to get a complete picture of the possible financial needs of the injured party. Damages other than medical costs must also be considered and negotiated for. An experienced catastrophic injury attorney will know how to recover for loss of income and the pain and suffering the victim and his family will suffer over a lifetime.

Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?

If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.


James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.